The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that it will be providing free sanitary products to girls in all primary schools in England from early 2020. The government had already committed to providing free sanitary products for secondary aged pupils, with the chancellor announcing the measure in last month’s spring statement. However, that announcement was criticised by some campaigners for not including primary pupils. The DfE say that after ‘feedback from teachers, students and parents’ they will now be extending the scheme to include pupils at primary schools.
Announcing the extended scheme, children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said ‘This Government is determined to ensure that no-one should be held back from reaching their potential – and wants everyone to lead active, healthy, happy lives. That is why earlier this year we committed to fully-fund access to free sanitary products in all secondary schools and colleges in England. After speaking to parents, teachers and pupils, we are now extending this to more than 20,000 primary schools so that every young person in all our schools and colleges gets the support that they need.’
Welcoming the announcement, Amika George, founder of the Free Periods campaign group, said ‘With free access to menstrual products for every child in compulsory education, every student can go to school without the anxiety or stress of worrying where their next pad or tampon will come from. This commitment will ensure that all children can fully participate in lessons and focus in class, and their period will never hold them back’.
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